NEW ORLEANS — You certainly couldn’t blame Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees if he felt some measure of personal redemption for directing Baltimore’s defensive attack in its 28-13 victory over the Patriots, his former team, in the AFC Championship game.
Pees, New England’s defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick from 2006-09, departed the Patriots following the 33-14 loss to the Ravens in the 2009 playoffs before taking a job coaching the linebackers with Baltimore. Pees has maintained he wasn’t fired or asked to leave after his contract ran out.
And, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Pees thought he was headed to Denver to be defensive coordinator for Josh McDaniels after the 2009 season, but was “snubbed” when McDaniels instead hired Don “Wink” Martindale. McDaniels is now the Patriots’ offensive coordinator.
But Pees, despite saying before the AFC title game that “I’m not going to lie and act like it’s just another game,” said Tuesday at Super Bowl Media Day that the victory over the Patriots was not personal in any way.
“Well, first of all, the only satisfaction that winning in New England gave to me was the fact that I got an opportunity to come here (to the Super Bowl),” Pees said.
“And second of all, the kind of thought that it didn’t end well in New England is totally false. I am great friends with Bill Belichick, with Pepper Johnson, with all those guys. You guys have no idea why I left there, and you never will. So whatever reason you guys think I left, you don’t know. And there’s nothing I have negative about New England. The players up there, the coaches up there are great friends. I had an opportunity to leave and I left.”
Pees didn’t reveal any inside information on his game plan that clearly stifled Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Pees said he didn’t take anything from the game plans of Jets coach Rex Ryan, who has used similar “spin the dial” pass rushes and coverages against Brady in the past.
“Well, obviously we won and held them to 13 points so I’d say the guys did a pretty good job (executing),” Pees said. “Where I came up with it, we’ll probably play them again next year, so you ain’t going to know.”
As far as the all-out blitz he called that left cornerback Ellis Hobbs one-on-one with Plaxico Burress on the game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the Giants’ 17-14 victory in Super Bowl XLII, Pees said he has no regrets.
“Sometimes you blitz and they get you, sometimes you blitz and they don’t,” Pees said. “If I would have laid back and they would have scored, then it would have been, ‘Why didn’t you pressure him?’
“We had an opportunity. Trust me, that wasn’t something that just came up as a whim. That’s something that we game-planned for and we decided in that particular instance what we’re going to do. That was a whole staff (decision). We all talked about how you’re going to call the game and what you’re going to do in that situation. Hey, it is what it is.”